This past week, for the first time in my life, I needed to talk to my father and he was not there for me. It’s not his fault though, Daddy died about seven months ago. Although we have not lived in close proximity very much during my adult life, I probably talked to him on the phone at least once a week for the past thirty years. It has been difficult since he died but I think I have done well.
Our weekly phone conversations were not planned or scheduled; they were typically spontaneous, occurring when one of us needed to speak with the other. He always wanted to know what was going on in my life. I called him when I wanted to share something exciting or when I had a problem.
My need to speak with him this week was precipitated by something exciting that I needed to share with him. I have just written a new book and received the first copy in the mail. I have written more than a half a dozen books but the first look at each one is still exciting. In fact, when I opened the package and examined it, I commented to Sharon that I wonder if Stephen King still gets excited when he writes a new book.
This particular book I especially needed to share with Daddy because it is about the church – the thing he loved the most. I am confident he would not agree with everything I wrote but it wouldn’t matter. He would love it and tell me that it was a very good book. In fact, he would even purchase a box of the books and give them away to friends and strangers along the way. He would be sure they knew his son was the author and after they read it he would call and tell me what they said. At least, that is what he did with every other book I wrote.
I have always heard that people who do not have a good relationship with their father have a difficult time in life. I am extremely grateful that was not the case for me. For the first time, however, needing to hear from a man who is not there gave me a new appreciation for those who have never received affirmation from a loving father.
In his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, Martin Luther confessed he had a difficult time addressing his prayer to “Our Father.” It was a reminder of his own father who he characterized as “stern and unrelenting.” I have always taken great comfort in beginning my prayer with the word, “Father.”
I am sad that Daddy will not read my book about the church. But I will be fine because I have heard his gracious affirmation many times in my life. If you have not had a similar experience, I am truly sorry. I better understand what it means to need something that important that you cannot have. I pray that you will find a way to allow our Heavenly Father take up the slack and fill this crucial need in your life.